Saturday, April 30, 2005

Movie Magic.


When I was young, my brother and sisters used to take me to the movies. Here's my favorite movie moment: In ET, when Elliot first meets ET, he screams and ET screams. When I saw the movie with my siblings, Elliot screamed, ET screamed then I screamed (loudly). The entire theatre started laughing. Movie moment #2: During Attack of the Clones -- Yoda looks like he's about to fight Count Dooku. We see that Yoda is about to pull out his light saber. Just then, a huge fat man in the audience with a bellowing voice yells out, "Run Motha' Fucka' Run!"

What's your favorite movie moment, in light of the people sitting around you?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Strike a Pose.


I'm a curious person. Everytime I see a cheesy mannequin I wonder, "Who the hell made that thing and how do they do it?" It turns out there is a considerable amount of art and manufacturing that goes into the production of a mannequin. Check it out here.

Interested in a robotic mannequin? Read
here. Robotic mannequins scare the crap out of me. Allegedly, companies are working on ways to make mannequins capable of recording your age and buying habits for marketing reasons. With video cameras installed in mannequins you'll no longer be able to take them into the change room with you with any feeling of privacy. Like I keep saying, they're always trying to take away my privacy. Sheesh...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

State of the Union.


In 1886, the AFL-CIO led by Samuel Gompers constituted a union targeted at improving the lives of skilled workers. It's central goals included fair wages, improved working conditions and protection from corporate abuse. Today, the AFL-CIO is a flourishing enterprise with over 13 million members.

Here's the topic du jour -- Should graduate students be permitted to unionize? Given that universities and professors have demonstrated little ability to police themselves, shouldn't graduate students have some form of advocacy? Graduate students are currently operating under conditions similar to those of workers during the Industrial Revolution -- we are poorly paid, overworked and often the victims of abuse. Moreover, many academic institutions operate much like industrial complexes did in the late 1800's, with little regard for these students. Universities argue that graduate students are apprentices, not workers. As such, they should not be granted the ability to unionize.

A friend recently sent me
this outstanding article detailing the unionization effort at private institutions, notably Columbia University.

Where do you stand on this issue? Should graduate students be permitted to enter collective bargaining agreements with their respective institution? What are other ways you think abuse at the graduate level can be stopped? How else could the standard of living for America's young thinkers improve?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A Window Into My PDA.


I missed a critical meeting this week and decided to buy a PDA. Yes, I feel like a dumbass for having one. I always promised myself I'd never get one. So I'm a hypocrite -- sue me. Man, they are so damn convenient. I got a super deal on it, so I don't feel so bad about buying it.

I was on such a high last night. This lil' gadget was exactly what I needed. Then I tried to sync it up with my computer. Guess what? Turns out that Windows XP has issues with my new baby. It looks like I'll have to do some major tinkering with my Windows Registry just to get this thing going.


This is why I use Linux at work. Microsoft is such a horrid organization. Their products are such crap... Oh well, there goes my PDA high.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Remarkable.


"Life of Pi" by Yann Martel is a fantastic book, well worth your time. The story goes something like this -- Pi is a young Indian boy stranded at sea with an injured zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a bengal tiger. Sounds far fetched, but Martel's unparalleled ability to weave together narration and astonishingly beautiful diction had me believing. I finished reading it and was amazed by Martel's insight into humanity and animal instincts. By far, this is the best book I've read this year. And you? What are you reading?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Science in the House.


I spent some time at the website for the
House Committee on Science. I was amazed by the amount of activity going on. I can't claim that I agree with all of the recommendations made by the committee (for example, their recommendation to decommission the Hubble Space Telescope was completely wrong). I was impressed by their willingness to listen to teachers to determine ways to improve math and science education in the United States.

I took issue with the allocation of scientific funding to basic sciences. From the Views and Estimates of the Committee on Science for FY 2006, page 3:

"The President proposes to spend 132.3 billion on R&D, about a 1 percent increase over FY 2005. The proposed R&D budget increases are heavily weighted toward development (a 2 percent increase), while applied research would remain flat, and basic science research would decline by 1.2 percent."

It is troubling that funding for basic science research would decline. Most innovative developments come in the pursuit of basic scientific discoveries. Consider this -- James Clerk Maxwell, who conducted basic science research (albeit as a theoretician) came up with the Maxwell Equations, which have contributed to nearly all of the technological innovations around us. I am often troubled by the lack of attention and funding given to basic science research.

In any case, as a scientist or a taxpayer wondering how your money is allocated, I strongly urge you to take a look at their website. I pose the following questions: As taxpayers, how would you like to see your money spent on science? Do you value basic science research? If not, why? If you're reading this post from another country, how is research funding regulated within your government?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

My Russian Friends.


We spent the day at the Russian River yesterday hanging out with Paul (pictured above) and Merry from the Happy Capitalist and The Merry Stitcher, respectively. We'd never been out to the Russian River and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Paul and Mary are good friends and it'll be hard to say goodbye to them when we leave for Boston.

There's something about spending time with good friends. Despite being surrounded by natural beauty, I was most in awe of our friends and their companionship. Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, "A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature."

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Dazzled by Jesus.


Cheesy religious jewelry anyone? The power of Jesus will illuminate your neckline and amaze your friends. The ad for these things says it's a "great fundraising item." I can see it now, "We appreciate your donation of a million dollars. Consider this tacky, sacrilegious pendant as our way of saying thanks." Also, I'm sure all of your clients and co-workers alike will instantly respect you if you're wearing one of these things. If you're crazy enough to want one, go here.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Scary Ass Stuff.


I found a pretty good site explaining the history of the Ouija Board. Ouija boards scare the living crap out of me. Why? I don't know. They're just so damn spooky. Maybe I heard too many stories about haunted Ouija boards as a kid...

It seems to me that there's plenty of people that love buying "haunted" stuff. Want to buy a haunted doll? Go here. Would you like to buy an item that'll cause a murdered young girl to haunt you? See here. How about haunted earrings? Go here. What is alluring about fright inducing items?

In camp, we spend countless hours around campfires spooking each other with chilling stories about ghosts, murderers and the like. I never enjoyed horror stories. Call me a coward, but nothing summons chocolate soft serve to my pants quicker than tales of terror.

Our obsession with horror certainly shows in Hollywood. The recent release of Amityville Horror (one of the worst remakes of all time) pulled in nearly 24 million dollars in ticket sales. The Ring (a much more successful venture) pulled in over 140 million dollars domestically. I tend to stay away from horror movies. When I was a kid my siblings took me to watch The Exorcist. I don't think I ever recovered from that one. Just thinking about it has me stinking like the litter box.

If you love the macabre, speak up. I'd like to know why you like getting the crap scared out of you. I'll stick to prunes, thank you very much.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Kiss of Ass.

How many of you out there have an annoying guy at work that kisses ass? I've got one at my workplace that's absolutely shameless. This guy is the worst. He does whatever it takes to make sure the boss's ass is shiny clean. Here's an example -- as soon as our advisor walks through the door, he'll ask her if she's comfortable, needs a drink etc... Making matters worse, this guy plays horrible politics and undercuts everyone else around him. No, he's not the brightest scientist I've met. Why can't this guy let his work speak for itself? If you want to impress your supervisor, work hard. Get things done. Help the people around you.

It's hard not to be frustrated by him. He's so obvious and I keep telling myself, "Man, our advisor has got to see through him." Alas, at our meeting today he'll pull the same crap. I'll roll my eyes, grin and bear it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Microarrays.



A not too recent trend in the field of genomics involves the use of DNA microarrays. I thought y'all might be interested in learning more about this important technique. Read about it
here.

Do me a favor, give me a link that'll help me learn more about something you work on or find interesting. I'm bored.

High Anxiety.

I'm one of those guys that worries. You know-- about important things, stupid things, pretty much anything. I find myself playing chess in every situation, always trying to anticipate the next move. Here's my version of hell: I send someone an important e-mail. I'll check my damn inbox 5,000 times a day, looking for a response. I'd continue to do that forever and ever in eternal anxious damnation.

Now that you know my version of hell (based on my ultimate character flaw), what'd be your version of hell?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Anticelebration.

A scientist I deeply respect has suffered a major defeat in the academic world. He is one of the brightest and most honorable faculty members I've ever met. He was a hot young scientist, a true pioneer. Yet he made some bad decisions and has lost a prestigious appointment and a wealth of scientific funding this week. His loss is a potential career breaker.

I lost sleep last night thinking about him and what he'll do next. Then I read an e-mail that he sent out to his research group. It went something like, "I refuse to feel disheartened... I am honored to work with all of you and am proud of your achievements. I would like to take you all out for an anticelebration toast. We will show our resiliency."

Suddenly I felt better. What a class act. Despite suffering a major setback, he still remains committed to his team and the work that they are doing. I realized that this scientist will recover in no time. There's no need to worry about him.

I think we can all learn a lesson from this scientist. It is in our darkest hour that we must raise our glasses in anticelebration and demonstrate to those around us that we believe in them and ourselves.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Ahh Tilden Park.


Nestled up in the Berkeley hills is Tilden Park. A fantastic place to come spend time, if you're ever in the area. (Tilden is a regional park -- no price for admissions!) Tilden has a few small lakes, is a good place to take the kids and overall an amazing place to go hiking or mountain biking. We recently spent some quality time out there. Thought I'd share the experience.

We first stopped off at the petting zoo to feed some lovely animals. Here I'm giving a cow and goat some grub. Also check out this jive turkey.



Next we hiked over to Jewel Lake. A small, but pretty body of water. There were some bratty kids hanging out there so we moved on quickly.

Up next is Lake Anza. It's a pretty laid back place and my favorite spot in the park. Lots of places to sit and think.

We also made it up to the steam trains. Yes, they have a miniature steam train that carries parents and children around the park. They even have a carousel at this park.


To add to the attractions, I saw Fields Medalist Richard Borchards riding around with his daughter. You'll recall that the Fields Medal is the Nobel Prize equivalent in the field of mathematics. They only give this prize out once every four years and the recipient has to be young to get it. Go Richard, Go!

Finally, an aerial view of the bay area. Not the best photo... Sorry, I tried my best.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Give.

Over 335,000 people have been killed in Darfur, Sudan. Doctors Without Borders is a fantastic organization that has been providing relief to refugees in the region.

Make a donation. You can call directly and specify the Sudan Fund. Only 2 percent of your donation goes towards overhead.

We can all afford to give something to help these poor people. Even if it's five bucks, you've helped. If you've already given, great. If not, please help.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A Rousing Good Time



I'm not sure what somebody was doing outside my apartment, but it looks like they were having a hell of a time. Here's the inventory:

1) 2 Boxing Gloves
2) 1 Tire Iron
3) 1 Bicycle Seat
4) 4 Golf Balls
5) 1 Tennis Ball
6) 1 Gas Mask
7) 1 Catcher's Mitt

What kind of activity requires such a wide assortment of crap? Here's my guess -- the guy was attending a political protest. What's your guess?

Friday, April 15, 2005

We're Outta Here!!!

Finally it arrived. The letter. I've been flirting with a major research institution on the east coast. They've promised me time and time again that I would be admitted. Everything showed up in writing today.

I am currently a graduate student at UC Berkeley. I did my undergraduate work there as well. I'm leaving. I'll be transfering to another institution in the Boston area at the end of summer. My gradate career will continue. What a relief.

My graduate days in Berkeley were painful. I worked for the most horrible human being I've ever met. He was a complete monster. I was forced to work 16-18 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hours weren't what was bothering me. Every hour or so the professor I worked for would come in, call me a fucking idiot, tell me I was incompetent and that I was too old for graduate school. Mind you, I accomplished more in my first year than anyone I've met. Still this guy rode me like a trick pony. Now that I've left his group, he's had to hire two full time postdoctoral scientists to replace me. He was really terrible. He used and abused his students and staff. Hell, 6 people have left his group in just 3 years. Keep in mind, his group is ~7 people large at any given time. Sadly, there is no way to regulate the actions of a professor. They are kings in academic circles.

For the first time in a long, long time I'm happy. Really happy. My wife and I are going to start our lives over in Boston. Yes, we're excited.

The People's Temple.


I had an amazing opportunity last night. My wife is works for a business firm that donates heaps of money to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. As such, we were invited to see a full dress rehersal of The People's Temple -- a play about the Jonestown Tragedy. It was an amazing performance and it was an incredible behind the scenes look at the dramatic world.

I usually can't stand hoity-toity events like this. You know, rich people sipping wine and eating overpriced cheese. Oh man, did the play make it worth it.

It was done very tastefully. The play interweaves the lives of seemingly disparate individuals into an organization that clearly went out of control. Imagine 918 men, women and children comitting mass suicide. How tragic. Want more history about the Jonestown Tragedy? Read here.

Cultic organizations are frightening. As an undergraduate, I did a documentary for the college radio station about cults. What scared me most was the competence of the people that get sucked into these groups. They were doctors, lawyers, young college students etc... Previously, I thought that only a dumbass could get wrapped up in a cult. Not true. If you're interested in learning more about cults, read "Cults in Our Midst" by Margaret Thaler Singer.

The play adequately deals with the pressure placed on cult members. Perhaps the best line in the play occured just before the mass suicides. One character tearfully says, "You call this suicide? I call this being trapped."

For those of you in the area, you must see this play. For those of you not in the area, what are some good theatrical venues in your neck of the woods? Have you ever had any exposure to cultic organizations?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Shut Your Hole.


A close friend came by for dinner yesterday. He was about an hour late. I felt bad for him, he was stuck on the 880 freeway for well over an hour yesterday. Why? A piece of concrete broke away, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the freeway. The highway was collapsed down into two lanes. The poor guy sat in bumper to bumper traffic for a long, long time.

This is no new thing here in Northern California. It is routine for drivers to sue the city and or state for damages done to their cars as a result of potholes in our roadways.


This got me thinking -- How is it that we pay high state taxes in California and yet our highways are complete junk, our K-12 schools are horrible and we can't afford to build a new bay bridge properly?

Is it just my state that's incompetent? How efficient is your state in such matters?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Who's Your Poppy?


How many of us know our state's flower and animal? How the hell did we get into the habit of making state sponsored flowers and animals? Guess what, we all even have state sponsored dances, fish, insects etc...

Here's your task: Tell me your state's flower, animal and one kooky state sponsored thing.

I'll start. California: Flower -- California Poppy, Animal -- Grizzly Bear, Kooky State Thing -- State rock = Serpentine.

Want to know more California state stuff? Read here.

For extra credit: What's our national flower? Don't google to find out.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

CAFTA, Do We Hafta?

I've been reading up on CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The Bush Administration has been pushing for the enactment of CAFTA and I'm not so sure where I stand.

On one hand, this trade agreement will allow Central American economies to better compete with China, which has a strangle hold on US trade. Think of it this way, Central American products are typically made with ~60% US goods. Chinese products are often made with little to no US materials. The argument goes, CAFTA will increase manufacturing and lead to more jobs within the United States. Moreover, it will provide Central America with a competitive edge over China, since Central American goods will then be allowed to enter the US duty free.


On the other hand, CAFTA also provides limitations on generic drug competition within Central America, thereby benefiting US pharmaceutical companies. If you've been reading my blog, you know that I'm totally against such limitations.

Take a look at the following editorial from the Washington Post and the rebuttal. What do you guys think? Will CAFTA really benefit the United States and Central America?

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Tyranny Of The Scented.

I woke up today having that not so fresh morning smell. I realized that I had to rush down to mail a package via FedEx. I quickly ran down to the local FedEx station. The guy at the place looked at me like I was a pariah. Fine, I stink like shit. Get over it.

I came home and showered. One problem while in the tub -- the only soap that was left was my wife's flowery perfume smelling soap. Fine. I'm running late. Whatever works. Besides, nobody cares about that kind of stuff.


On the way to work, lo and behold, my car's coolant leak started acting up again. This causes a foggy, rotten fish smell to enter the passenger compartment. Damn, I'm gonna smell like ass. Fine. Let's just make the meeting on time.


While parking, I saw two homeless guys duking it out. As I parked my car in front of the lab, I decided I'd try and break it up. "C'mon guys, it's not worth getting arrested over," I claimed. "They're cops going up and down the street here. It's not worth it." Guess what, both of them smelled like shit. Inevitably, some of their stink rubbed off on me. Fine. I got over it.

When I got into my advisor's office, she and other group members started sniffing around. "What the hell is that chemical perfume-like smell?" "It's me," I responded, "I used my wife's perfume soap this morning, my clothing is perfused with burned coolant from my car and I tangled with two homeless guys on my way over here." Suddenly, they were all looking at me like the guy from the FedEx office did. "Ahem, let's just prop the door open and start the meeting," my advisor said. During the meeting they all kept glancing over at me, giving me that "what the F is wrong with you" look.


I stink like shit. Get over it.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Ahh Sunday.


How fantastic. It's sunny, not a cloud in the sky, a perfect Sunday. Where am I? In my office working. One of these days I've gotta get a job with weekend work consisting of sipping lemonade while lying on a hammock.

A quick search on craigslist using the search string "free money" has returned the result "MEN: Sperm Bank Donors Needed." I was a bit shocked that they want MEN for this job. I mean, usually the ad says "WOMEN: Sperm Bank Donors Needed."


I'm sure I won't meet the minimum sperm count requirement. Also, I'm not sure Mrs. Vavoom would approve. Any suggestions for my future job? Remember: lemonade and hammock.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Why We Go.


Just got back from watching the San Francisco Giants play the Colorado Rockies out at SBC Park (a fantastic venue, if you're ever in the area). I'm one of those guys that said he'd never go to another ball game after the strike. I also considered boycotting pro baseball after the recent steroids scandal. After watching the game today, I realized why I keep coming back.

The first eight innings were horrid. The Giants had no runs and it looked pretty grim. At the bottom of the eighth, Michael Tucker connected for a grand slam. Voila -- the Giants won. Final score: Giants 4, Rockies 2.


I saw fathers and mothers dancing along side their sons and daughters. Friends high fiving. Hell, I was jumping up and down. Despite the foolish actions of owners and players alike, it's still a fantastic game. Fantastic enough for me to keep coming back to it.


More pictures, for your viewing pleasure.






Friday, April 08, 2005

The Economics Of Poop.

Ever wonder where economists come up with the crap they peddle? One Harvard professor has revealed his sources. Read here.

The Hits Keep On Comin'

Three albums that you have got to get:

Gigi
by Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw

This CD mixes Ethiopian singing with electronic vibes. Whoa momma, is it good! This album was produced by Bill Laswell and features appearances by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Henry Threadgill. Jesus, it doesn't get any better than this.

Gospels Spirituals and Hymns by Mahalia Jackson

Speaking of Jesus, Mahalia Jackson is the most amazing gospel singer bar-none. This 2 CD compilation is a fantastic introduction to her work. "I Found the Answer" is the best song on this comp. Ahh, this brings me back to my days of singing in a Baptist choir. Actually, I've never sung in a Baptist choir. This CD makes me wish I had.

Pink Flag by Wire

An absolutely ass kicking CD that reminds me of my childhood days as a skateboarding punk. Yes, I was a skateboarding punk. It's a slowed down version of the Sex Pistols. Buy it, listen to it and thrash around your apartment.

To continue with the show and tell atmosphere of this blog, what are you listening to these days?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Eat The Hot Dog, Kid.


We've had a series of visitors come to stay with us over the past month. Some friends, some family. A couple nights ago we went to see the Golden State Warriors play the Houston Rockets. We were being good hosts, we got the tickets, went out to the Sunset District to pick up our guests, paid 14 bucks for parking at the arena (14 bucks!). I was sitting next to my cousin and decided that now was the time to go spend 60 bucks on food for everybody. 60 bucks goes a long way at an NBA game. I bought 6 drinks, two batches of garlic fries, two hot dogs, two hamburgers and a plate of BBQ hot links. Yes, 60 bucks goes a long way (wink, wink). I was missing the game, but figured "Hey, it's not so bad, our guests are having a good time."

If you've ever been to any major sports games you realize how difficult it is to carry that much food through the throngs of people wandering around the arena. After several "oh shit I almost dropped everthing" moments, I arrived at my seat. I sat down and started distributing the food. My cousin, who is 14 years old and certainly should know better cries out, "There's ketchup on my hot dog!" He screamed out in horror as if he was stabbed in the eye by a hummingbird. "Are you allergic," I asked. "No, it's just that there's ketchup on it!" I kept telling him, "It's okay, we'll just wipe it off. No problem."

"I can't eat it," he kept repeating. I tried to reason with him: "Look, there's hardly any ketchup on it. You can't eat it if we wipe the ketchup off? How about a delicious hamburger, or fries or hot links?" He was adamant, "No! I wanted a hot dog!" By now I was giving him the "Why I outta" look. C'mon kid, eat the damn hot dog. When I was a kid my dad would've soundly thrashed me if I didn't step up and eat the damn hot dog.

"Alright I'll be back." 20 minutes later I returned with a fresh hot dog. No ketchup, no mustard, just pure unadulterated processed meat and bread.

By the way, the Warriors beat the Rockets 122-117. I'm told it was an exciting game.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Bellow's Gift.


I have just discovered that Saul Bellow has died. Bellow's writing has had a profound impact on my life. I read Humboldt's Gift some time ago, but it's central theme has remained with me to this day -- how can an artist find significance in his work and life while living in a materialistic society? Bellow won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 and the Nobel Prize in 1976. He wrote with clarity, wisdom and humanity. If you haven't read his work, honor him and yourself by doing so.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Go Vern Go!


I attended a talk on campus yesterday given by Congressman Vernon Ehlers. Rep. Ehlers spoke about the dire need for scientists to get involved in political affairs. Some interesting points:

1) K-12 education in this country is atrocious. 60% of all science and math teachers do not have a degree in science or mathematics. Are we doing all that we can, as a society to value our teachers and pay them accordingly? Are schools funded appropriately and is current curricula adequate?
2) Congressional spending accounts for only 30% of our national budget. The rest goes towards interest and entitlement programs. Given a shrinking discretionary budget, what will come of basic science research?
3) Despite an increasingly aged and retired component of our population, volunteer work at schools is not on the rise. Wouldn't retired people make fantastic teachers? Their experience alone is worth introducing to our nation's learners.

Poetic Justice.

As is the case with musicians in the music industry and scientists in academic circles, several talented writers are ignored in the literary world. I've found a great blog with some fantastic poetry. Let's hope this writer makes it to the center stage. Check it out.

Why Can't I Sleep?


Anybody out there want to feel tortured? Change your name to Vavoom and come live my life. Since I was a kid I never slept well. For the life of me, I just can't sleep. I average around 3-4 hours a night. Note: That's 3-4 hours of piecemeal one hour here another hour there kind of crap. It's just how I live. Here's what I've tried to do to fix the problem:

1) Don't worry so much. Check.
Outcome: Meditation doesn't help.
2) Take sleeping pills. Check.
Outcome: Tolerance builds up quickly.
3) Exercise. Check.
Outcome: I'm tired but can't sleep.
4) Blog. Check.
Outcome: I write crappy posts like this but still can't sleep.
5) Read. Check.
Outcome: I become heavily engaged in the novel... can't sleep.
6) Stop hatin'. Check.
Outcome: I've even forgiven my former grad school advisor... still no sleep.
7) Watch TV. Check.
Outcome: I've seen every informercial known to man. (e.g. I've seen Ponch from "Chips" sell real estate in Washington State over and over again.) I have nightmares about Ron Popeil...
8) Try doing work. Check.
Outcome: I'm no good at my work so I end up worrying too much. See #1.
9) See a doctor. Check.
Outcome: They prescribe sleeping pills. See #2.
10) Take laxatives. Check.
Outcome: Realize that bowel movements have no relevance to sleeping disorders.

Any suggestions?

Monday, April 04, 2005

Hanoi Inane.


I caught a couple minutes of Jane Fonda's interview on 60 minutes. I'm still pissed off at Jane Fonda. Listen, I hate war. I'm upset we're in one now. Still, I'm not about to go to Iraq, visit an insurgency camp and broadcast to American troops: "Think about what you're doing. Drop your weapons."

For god's sake, these people will get killed if they lower their guns! If you're like me and you're against the war in Iraq, write your congressman. Attend a protest. Vote for politicians that will not start such ridiculous wars.

I am totally against the war in Iraq. I'm also totally against Jane Fonda.

Lincoln Speaks.


An exchange I had with my closest friend this weekend:

Me: You know, I've read that Abraham Lincoln was the most misquoted person in history.
Friend: Well, Lincoln himself said: "I foresee that I will be the most misquoted President in history."
Me: Wow! That's amazing that he actually said that!

Yes, it took me about a minute to realize my stupidity. Maybe you had to be there, but oh crap was it funny.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Girls Gone Mathematical.

I went to see Sin City yesterday. A friend pointed out a billboard advertising the latest Disney feel good extravaganza. It's a movie called Ice Princess. The target group for this film is comprised of young impressionable teenage girls. I was appalled when I read the slogan for the movie: "From small town Mathlete to big time Athlete."

Like it isn't good or glamorous enough for a girl to be a wiz at math and science. The billboard implies that this girl should throw all of this away to become an ice skater. That's what's glamorized. Why can't we encourage young women towards scholarly pursuits? How about a feel good movie about an athletic girl that thinks she's no good at math? She works hard and realizes that she has the ability and intelligence to become a great "mathlete."

Nah, that'd be too uplifting... too inspiring...

Poseidon To The Rescue!


Here in California we've had our problems with electricity. You'll recall that deregulation left the sunshine state in a state of utter chaos from 2001-2003. During the summer months, the crisis was particularly bad because of increased air conditioner usage. Engineers have been developing innovative ways to cool large commercial buildings using ocean water. This technique has been around since 1986, but has been improving with time. Learn more about it here.

By the way, environmentalists have opposed such technology. They claim that such heat exchange techniques damage the ocean's environment. Keep in mind, they'll never use any data to support their claims.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

More Than A Man.


By now you know that Pope John Paul II has died in the Vatican. I'm not Catholic, but I still grieve the death of the Pontiff. An example of his magnificence: In 1983, the Pope visited a prison. Not a place you'd expect him to visit. He was there, however, to meet with Mehmet Ali Agca. Agca attempted to assassinate the Pope in 1981. The purpose of the visit was clear -- the Pope wished to forgive and bless the man that sought to kill him. How noble. How magnificent.

From his energetic revival of Catholic evangelism to his stand against communism in 1979, Pope John Paul II transcended all notions of humanity. He serves as a clear example of what it means to be more than human.

Friday, April 01, 2005

War Of The Academic Worlds.


Whoa! Harvard and MIT have announced that they will merge into one university. It is unknown whether or not MIT will simply be absorbed into Harvard University. Do not leave this blog without reading all about it here.